Yoga for Your Heart: High & Low Blood Pressure

This series of standing, supported forward bends are a great start to a practice focused on either high or low blood pressure. In fact, they are a great way to decompress and de-stress before starting any yoga practice session. 

Be sure to use height and supports so you can sustain the poses for 3-5-10 minutes comfortably.

As B.K.S. Iyengar says in the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali, the asana (posture) should feel nourishing and illuminative otherwise they're not yoga asana.

The order can also be swapped. For example, you could start with Adho Mukha Svanasana vs. Uttanasana. But, here is the basic sequence:

  • Supported Uttanasana (Intense Stretch) See previous post on Uttanasana
  • Supported Adho Mukha Svanasana (Downward Facing Dog) with head on a block
  • Prasarita Padattonasana (Expanded leg intense stretch) with head supported

Note: The first version the head is handing and shoulders are supported; the second version the head is resting and the shoulder are releasing.

Note: Second version is Lois Steinberg demonstrating a version that can be used for pregnancy. If you are not pregnant, you can join the bolsters and rest the whole torso forward.

What most people want is the same. Most people simply want physical and mental health, understanding and wisdom, and peace and freedom. Often our means of pursuing these basic human needs come apart at the seams, as we are pulled by the different and often competing demands of human life. Yoga, as it was understood by its sages, is designed to satisfy all these humans needs in a comprehensive, seamless whole. Its goal is nothing less than to attain the integrity of oneness-oneness with ourselves and as a consequence oneness with all that lies beyond ourselves. We become the harmonious microcosm in the universal macrocosm. Oneness, what I often call integration, is the foundation for wholeness, inner peace and ultimate freedom.
— B.K.S. Iyengar